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Stoneville man is checkers champ

Sunday, August 21, 2011 (Updated 3:00 am)

Dr. John Webster, a veterinarian who lives in Stoneville, is a national checkers champion.

Grandmaster Webster won the U.S. Blitz Go-As-You-Please title July 25 at the American Checker Federation Nationals in Medina, Ohio.

“Blitz Checkers” is a style of fast-moving speed checkers using a time clock.

This style of fast moving checkers is preferred by a lot of youngsters and young adults in the Internet checker/chess game rooms.

Webster also won the N.C. State Open on May 18 in Greensboro and the Southern Open on July 10 in Lebanon, Tenn. He took second place at West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Open on May 7 in Humboldt, Tenn.

Webster will travel to San Remo, Italy, in October to play in the World Qualifier Tournament.

Webster, 69, is no newcomer to checkers. He started at age 10, hanging out at country stores in the early 1950s. Some top players recognized his interest and talent and started taking him to the Reidsville Drug Store, Danville, Draper, Burlington and Winston-Salem YMCA Chess & Checker Association.

Webster played in his first state tournament in Hickory in 1958 at age 16.

He stayed with checkers throughout his veterinarian schooling and military service. He won his fifth state championship title in May.

He was the U.S. GAYP National Champion in 2007 in Las Vegas. The U.S. Nationals are the top, most prestigious tournaments you can win in the United States, and the winner may challenge the World Champion to a World Title Match.

Webster has been an International Team Member for the U.S. vs. U.K. and Ireland International Matches four consecutive times.

Players must be one of the top 12 ranked players in the U.S. to make the pick. Each team has 10 players plus two alternates.

He was a top performers in two International Matches — in Weston-Super-Mare, England, 1989, and in Las Vegas in 2005 — and was a team member in several other international matches.

JR Smith is secretary of the N.C. Checker Association.

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